ABSTRACT: The proposed project is an R24 infrastructure support grant responsive to RFA-ES-16-004, “Maintain and Enrich Resource Infrastructure for Existing Environmental Epidemiology Cohorts.” We propose to maintain and enrich resource infrastructure for the Rhode Island Children's Health Study (RICHS), a cohort developed to examine the impact of the environment on newborn and early childhood health outcomes with a novel focus on the mechanistic role of placenta molecular function. RICHS is a highly productive cohort resource—data collection and analyses to date have resulted in over 40 peer-reviewed publications, and 3 research project grants since 2008 (R01MH094609, R01ES022223, R01ES025145); RICHS has also served as a resource for the training and independent research development of 21 pre- and postdoctoral students and junior faculty. Data and results from the cohort have contributed to the understanding of the fundamental molecular biology of the placenta, the impact of environmental exposures on placental epigenetic regulation, links between placental epigenetic variation in newborn growth and neurobehavioral outcomes, as well as novel methods development. The RICHS cohort is comprised of 840 mother-offspring pairs from the Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts region enrolled from a single, population-representative medical center. RICHS offspring were studied in infancy, but maintenance funds are needed for longitudinal follow-up. The proposed infrastructure support would facilitate future prospective, longitudinal assessments within this extensively characterized prenatal cohort, including novel child health and disease outcomes, postnatal environmental exposures, as well as novel and repeated measures of molecular mediators and biomarkers during the critical window of susceptibility of childhood and early adolescence. The proposed infrastructure support will also allow extensive resource-sharing of RICHS data with the larger scientific community. The specific goals of this R24 are to: (1) recontact and reconsent all RICHS mother-child pairs to allow for continued and expanded follow-up, (2) develop an innovative website for cohort maintenance and cohort community building, (3) develop a web-based data collection system for ongoing data collection using REDCap, (4) provide ongoing incentives for maintaining participant investment in RICHS, (5) collect medical record, neurodevelopmental measures and biospecimens for future research studies, and (6) develop systems for broad sharing of cohort data with the larger research community. Our study fits with NIEHS goals to identify fundamental shared mechanisms, to consider the totality of human exposures, biological pathways, and disease pathogenesis, to foster collaboration, and to inspire new cadre of environmental health scientists. Ultimately, the proposed RICHS infrastructure support will maximize NIEHS investment in a unique cohort resource to allow for further seminal work from our highly productive research group and broad sharing of data and resources with the scientific community.
PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: The Rhode Island Child Health Study (RICHS) cohort provides a unique and innovative birth cohort resource focused on the fundamental role of the placenta in the programming of children's health and disease risk. Infrastructure support for the cohort will allow for further longitudinal assessments that will enable multiple high- impact research projects aimed at early risk assessment and intervention. Infrastructure support will also facilitate broad data sharing of this resource with the scientific community and public.